Driver training for future automated vehicles

Organisation: University of Nottingham & RAC Foundation
Date uploaded: 11 November 2020
Date of publication: October 2020

This study suggests that behavioural training for drivers is paramount for the transition into the next stage of automated vehicles, known as level 3 automation.

A team from Nottingham University’s Human Factors Research Group studied two groups of experienced drivers in a high-fidelity driving simulator to observe their behaviour while ‘driving’ a car with level 3 automation.

The research was funded by the RAC Foundation and led by researcher Emily Shaw, working with Dr David R. Large and Professor Gary Burnett.

The study found that drivers who received behavioural training were more measured in their behaviour and better understood the car’s capabilities and limitations.

The behavioural training included the provision of a checklist known as ‘CHAT’, pioneered by Emily Shaw. The other group trained by reading an operating manual.

Key findings found in the behavioural training group:

• Significantly more likely to notice a potential hazard during the transition from automated to manual driving (in this case, a tailgating car), with 90% of drivers noticing the car in this group, compared to 24% of the operating manual group

• Made more measured decisions in lane change manoeuvre shortly after taking back manual control

• Spent more time preparing (e.g. acquiring knowledge of the road environment through mirror checks) before physically making the lane change

• Made more mirror checks in the run up to and during the lane change manoeuvre

• Checked their mirrors more frequently, even while the car was driving autonomously

During a period of automated driving, participants in both groups could decide whether to engage in a non-driving task, such as looking at their phone, tablet, laptop or reading materials, or nothing at all.

When notified by the vehicle to take back control and transition from automated driving, the group who were trained with only an operating manual took almost 10 times longer to pay full attention to driving, continuing glances at their non-driving task for an average of 11.2 seconds, compared with 1.8 seconds in the behavioural group.

The behavioural group was also markedly faster at making their first glance at the road when notified to take over – on average 7.3 seconds, in comparison to 21 seconds in the other group.

Download the full report from the RAC Foundation website